With this first blog post I had a difficult time choosing a topic because I wanted to cover so many different pieces of electronic literature. I decided on “Last Dream” by Andy Campbell. I chose “Last Dream” because it in no way lacks as beautiful and captivating piece. The title draws you in and from the first image to the last, you cannot look away. I played through this story about ten times before I decided it was time to sit down and write this entry. From my interpretation of the story it is narrated by a person who wrote about their grandfather’s dreams. The character’s gender is never mentioned so I’m going to try my best to keep it gender-neutral when mentioning them. The story focuses on one of the last dreams the grandfather had before he died. The artwork of the story is beautiful and the combination between the colors and the black and white are a very interesting way to convey the beginning of the story. The story itself is very interactive and there are points you cannot move forward without interaction. While you move through the story itself, it even drops hints for how you can move forward. Even the narrator mentions that their grandfather had to work at this dream that we are exploring. The story moves from different areas and the use of the color green I felt represented life. The black and white portions I felt described oncoming death.
The opening sequence starts with very whimsical light airy music that seems to set the tone for the face with the eyes closed meshed with the moving background of houses. It begins by explaining that this is one of the last dreams the narrator’s grandfather had. The story then starts at the outside of the house, and the door is locked and you must find the key. The music in this area holds a tone of exploration and wonder. While the music is dark it also holds a kind of compelling beauty to it. Once you find the key and unlock the door you are in a hallway that leads to two rooms. At this point the narrator mentions how no matter how powerful and vivid their grandfather’s dreams were that they never liked the endings. Something I found very interesting in the hallway was this mask that just seems to float. It’s portrayed as black and white and slightly out of focus. Masks are meant to hide our faces even ourselves from others. I felt this mask represented the grandfather maybe hiding from death or hiding a part of himself within his dreams. It also could be that he is trying to hide his inability to hold onto his memories. Through the story a green ribbon like essence leads you, I felt as though it was the grandfather’s life or his memories leading him through his dream. First the essence comes out of the left room and into the right room. At the beginning it is mentioned that the grandfather had memories of places, people, and things that pasted through him, but that he could not be sure they were his own memories. I feel like this sets a tone of the grandfather having Alzheimer’s. In the right room the section of the story given mentions how the grandfather would have to focus to gain only a moment of clarity, and that it would be lost in retinal noise. Maybe the reason he would have to focus so hard is because his mind is failing him and he has to try even hard to hold onto and remember memories. I moved from the house area after being stuck for five minutes, remembering the clues given to me at the beginning about the importance of lights. As you move through each room you must turn out the lights including the light in the hall and then progress through the story. I felt the lights represented life or his mind shutting down certain parts of his brain and making it harder for him to remember things. As you turn out the last light, darkness comes until it transitions back to the face you see at the beginning. This time it is in black and white and then the color slowly comes back to the face. I feel this could represent the grandfather having difficulty remembering his grandchild’s face and once he remember’s their face lights up.
I feel the reason why you are brought back to the same face from the beginning is that the narrator is remembering or possibly dreaming these memories of their grandfather in sequences. Which is why I have split this entry into the three areas you encounter in the story. It is mention at this section that the grandfather had felt this dream coming for months and that things that he had forgotten over time seemed to come back to him like it had never left. He could feel the Alzheimer’s getting worst and yet he has moments where he’s lucid. At this point the music is still whimsical and fades into silence. With a click you are then in a field of corn or tall grass. You hear sounds of the field swaying in the wind. You are then met with words from the grandfather the narrator remembers, ” when it comes he said, leave everything outside the curtain and draw your own wall.” I feel this line is so important because it makes me wonder who is coming. I feel that the grandfather was speaking of death or possibly the wave of forgetfulness.He draws the wall to protect himself and the memories he has left. With another click you are being almost pushed through the field, like you are running away from something. You hear sounds of crunching plants as you run. You also hear light background music going. It is subtle and because of the movement it almost gives you a feeling of dramatic seriousness that will lead you close to the end. I took the running as the grandfather running away from death or trying to delve farther into the dream as fast as he could to keep remembering and not forget. The farther he got the harder it would be for death to get him or his memories to fail him. This idea is reinforced because with another click you stop and it mentions how the grandfather had never gotten that far before, as if he had gotten to a point of memories he could not access before. At this point just over the the field you see the green ribbon like essence leading you into what seems to be a green portal.
With another click you are brought closer to the green portal. The music feels more ominous to set the mood that the portal does not lead somewhere good. A big change is that you are not met with the face like the other two areas give you. Almost as if to say that the grandfather no longer remembers his grandchild’s face. You are met with troubling words that only seem to reinforce that the grandfather has Alzheimer’s. People who have Alzheimer’s disease sometimes need lists or post it note reminders to remember certain things. Yet he mentions that lists do nothing, as if to say he is at a point in his disease where lists do him no good. That he all mixed up inside and can’t even seem to go through a day without getting jumbled up. That he no longer remembers people or their touch. At this point I do not know if this is part of the story or a weird glitch, but you can draw into the portal with your mouse and the lines are black and are not permanent. With a double click the mask appears again and the music gets more ominous. The mask almost seems to hide what’s on the other side of the portal and what it is, it’s bright. The mask could also stand for the grandfather’s last shot at holding onto his sanity by hiding his disease. Although as the music and the sounds gets more ominous it leads me to believe that what was on the other side of the portal was not something good. Possibly it was the ugly side of his disease for the last words you see seem to indicate that he slowly moved back into a state of dementia. Finally the screen fades to black as if the grandfather or his memories have died.